What if you could give yourself a superpower – not Hulk-level strength, not telekinesis, but something realistic, something that added a superhuman ability by taking away a normal human limitation?

That’s what Jia Jiang wondered when he began a quest to remove the fear of rejection from his brain.

Can you change a person’s mind on a divisive social issue? For instance, let’s say you meet someone who is very opposed to same-sex marriage and has felt that way for years. In one conversation, could you flip his or her opinion in the other direction?

The latest science says…hold on to your socks…yes. But it will require two things: contact and disclosure.

Public shaming is back, and Jon Ronson has written a book about it.

It’s not a pop-science book. It doesn’t attempt to outline the bio-psycho-social underpinning of our urge to shame. Instead, Ronson spends time with people who’ve been recently ruined, made to suffer by the newfound shaming powers of a web-savvy public.

In this episode, we talk to Danielle Ofri, physician and author of What Doctors Feel – a book about the emotional lives of doctors and how compassion fatigue, biases, and other mental phenomena affect their decisions, their motivations, and their relationships with patients.

You’ll also hear Ofri discuss emotional epidemiology, the viral-like spread of fear and other emotions that can lead to irrational panics like those we’ve already seen surrounding Ebola, the Swine Flu, SARS, and other illnesses.

Episode 44 is a rebroadcast of two interviews from episode 20 which was all about how we are very, very bad at predicting the future both in our personal lives and as as a species.

Thanks to your support on Patreon, you can now read a transcript of my interview with James Burke from that episode. More transcripts are on the way. I hope to add about four a month. This is a link to the James Burke transcript.

Did Brian Williams lie, exaggerate, or misremember?

If he originally reported the truth behind the events in Iraq more than a decade ago, and those events were filmed and broadcast on the nightly news, then why didn’t he fact-check himself before going on national television and recounting a false version of those same events? Surely, as a journalist, he knew the original video was out there for anyone to watch.